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L.T. – The Chargers Savior

LaDainian Tomlinson | Chargers Tickets

One of the most prolific football players of all time, Ladainian Tomlinson retired from the NFL today.  He is perhaps the greatest running back of all time and is one of the great human beings to ever play the game. 

“LT”, as he is nicknamed, was drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the fifth overall pick out of Texas Christian University in the 2001 NFL Draft.  The Chargers had the first overall pick in that year’s draft which was projected to be the explosive dual-threat quarterback out of Virginia Tech Michael Vick; however San Diego traded that pick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for the #5 pick as well as other selections.  In hindsight, I’d say the Chargers made a great deal.

Now that his career is officially over, LT’s final stats are a remarkable 13,684 rushing yards, 145 touch downs with a 4.3 yards per carry average.  That last stat confirms his dominance; the math is rather simple, give the ball to Tomlinson 3 plays in a row and he will get you a first down. 

A 5-time Pro Bowl selection, LT was twice the NFL’s rushing leader and had his best season in 2006 when he set the NFL single season record for rushing touch downs with 28.  What was most impressive from that 2006 season was he became the fastest player to score 100 touchdowns and broke the record for most points in a season with 186 as well as set the record for single season touch downs with 31 (28 rushing, 3 receiving). 

He was named AP NFL MVP as well as the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2006.  LT also helped the Chargers finish the regular season with a franchise best record 14-2.  Despite all of his success, Tomlinson was always known for displaying his modesty as every time he reached the end zone he would not celebrate but instead, would hand the ball to the referee and jog back to the sideline.

After the 2009 season, LT entered free agency and opted to sign with the New York Jets.  Though he never played as well for the Jets as he did for San Diego, Tomlinson still helped produce on a playoff team.  Though the Chargers and Ladainian went their separate ways in ’09 the team agreed to sign a one-day contract with LT so he could retire where his career was made and truly bloomed, San Diego.

There is no doubt that his #21 will be retired amongst all Chargers and you can count on him being nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame 5 years from now.  He owns and/or shares a plethora of NFL records and although he feels as though he can still physically play, he is looking forward to spending time with his wife LaTorsha Oakley and son Daylen.

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